Independence and Visual Impairments

If your loved one has a visual impairment, there are many ways you can help him or her remain independent.

There are several general things to remember when caring for a loved one with a visual impairment.

  • Always announce your entrance into or exit from a room.
  • Organize the household so you can locate important items quickly.
  • Keep your voice at a normal level unless your loved one also has a hearing problem.
  • Don’t assist with daily living tasks that your loved one can complete alone.
  • Don’t move furniture or other items without discussing it first.
  • Stand directly in front of your loved one when speaking to him or her.

If your loved one lives at home, there are a few important modifications you can one make to the residence:

  • Adjust the blinds to allow for the maximum amount of natural light.
  • Consistently keep doors closed or open so your loved one knows what to expect.
  • Decorate with contrasting colors—especially around doors, stairways, light switches, and electrical outlets.
  • Install light fixtures that provide bright and evenly distributed light.
  • Move furniture away from the main traffic areas of the residence.
  • Remove all electrical wiring that stretches across flooring.
  • Replace all loose or uneven flooring such as worn carpets.

Finally, there are several ways to help your loved one remain safe. Encourage him or her to:

  • Ask for help when necessary.
  • Communicate any difficulties he/she has so you can discuss solutions.
  • Frequently visit an eye doctor or specialist for a check-up.
  • Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes.
  • Make use of vision-related rehabilitation programs, which help train people in adaptive techniques of daily living.

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